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36. Counsel on Food, Manual Labor, and Voice Culture in SDA Schools

[Materials in the field of counsels to educators requested by E. C. Walter, Registrar of Pacific Union College, for use as a school administrator.] Counsel on Food, Manual Labor, and Voice Culture in SDA Schools

I know not who is cook at the boarding hall, but I beseech you, do not place any persons to oversee the cooking of food for the college students unless they have a thorough knowledge of the right kind of cooking, that the students shall take away with them the very best intelligence of what hygienic cooking means. The much-liquid food, the pastries, the desserts, prepared for the table after European hotel fashion, is not the proper food to place before a hungry lot of students, whose appetites are keen to devour the most substantial food. The very best, thorough cook should be employed. If I were speaking to your own family, I would say the same. But it is not merely your own family; it is in behalf of God's heritage of children I am speaking. No one person's ideas, or tastes, or customs, or habits are to control the boarding-house table. But obtain the very best cook, and have helpers that she, as matron in the kitchen, shall oversee. The students pay for their board; give them good, solid, nourishing food.--Letter 46, 1893, p. 5. (To W. W. Prescott, Sept. 5, 1893.)

The course that has been pursued is directly contrary to the light which God has given me. It has been stated in distinct, positive language, that God is not pleased with the centering of so many important interests in Battle Creek. The time is close upon us when the reason for this will be understood; it will be no longer a matter of faith, but of experience. Instead of centering everything in Battle Creek, it would be more in harmony with God's order to let the work be scattered over a greater amount of territory. Battle Creek is not to be a Jerusalem whither all the world are to go up to worship. Too much of our strength is centered there already. In other localities there is need of


facilities and means to build up the work. There may be apparent advantages to be derived by the enlargement of the school buildings, but the movement is not in the counsel of God. . . .

It is not impressed upon the minds of the young that self-denial, cross-bearing for Christ's sake, is to be a part of their religious experience. They think it all right for them to be sustained and educated, and to spend money to gratify their desires for selfish indulgence. . . .

There is great danger that parents and guardians, both by words and actions, will encourage self-esteem and self-importance in the youth. They pursue a course of petting, gratifying every whim, and thus foster the desire for self-gratification so that the youth receive a mold of character that unfits them for the commonplace duties of practical life. When these students come to our schools, they do not appreciate their privileges; they do not consider that the purpose of education is to qualify them for usefulness in this life and for the future life in the kingdom of God. They act as if the school were a place where they were to perfect themselves in sports, as if this were an important branch of their education, and they come armed and equipped for this kind of training. This is all wrong, from beginning to end. It is not in any way appropriate for this time; it is not qualifying the youth to go forth as missionaries, to endure hardship and privation, and to use their powers for the glory of God.

Amusement that serves as exercise and recreation is not to be discarded; nevertheless,it must be kept strictly within bounds, else it leads to love of amusement for its own sake, and nourishes the desire for selfish gratification. . . .


Let all learn to save, to economize. Every dollar wasted on frivolous things, or given to special friends who will spend it to indulge pride and selfishness, is robbing God's treasury.

The training and discipline you undergo in order to be successful in your games is not fitting you to become faithful soldiers of Jesus Christ, to fight His battles and gain spiritual victories. The money expended for garments to make a pleasing show in these match games is so much money that might have been used to advance the cause of God in new places, bringing the word of truth to souls in darkness of error. Oh, that God would give all the true sense of what it means to be a Christian! It is to be Christlike. He lived not to please Himself.

The Lord has presented before me many things and impressed upon me the dangers to which our young men are exposed through erroneous ideas. They are not to be taken up and carried like babies, petted and coddled, and supplied with money as though there was an abundance where that came from. Do not let them feel that there is a bank they can draw upon to supply every supposed want. Money is to be regarded as a gift entrusted to us of God to do His work, to build up His kingdom. The youth are not to receive the impression that it can be used to gratify their desires. They should learn to restrict their desires.

Let not guardians, or any whom God has entrusted with means, act capriciously and injure our youth by leading them to feel that they are to be assisted at every step in their scholastic life. They should not be relieved of all care and responsibility. They should learn to be self-reliant, self-sustaining. Let them find useful employment, humble though it may be, that will give their physical powers the exercise they need. Parents and guardians should give the youth a start and then let them understand that they must make the very


best use of their own powers, improving their time in every way possible to help themselves; this will be as valuable an education as they can have. Useful physical labor in earning means to defray their own expenses as far as possible, will be greatly to their advantage. Their characters will possess far more real worth if they learn the lesson of self-denial in the school of poverty, as did Presidents Lincoln and Garfield. The best and greatest men, those who have stood boldly for the right, have been self-made men. They had no time to devote to idle amusement, no money to spend in equipping themselves for pugilistic performances. Among the most profitable lessons the youth can learn are those which teach them the value of money, and enable them to form habits of industry and economy.--Letter 47, 1893, pp. 1, 6-8. (To W. W. Prescott, Oct. 25, 1893.)

There is a great deficiency in our schools in the line of composition, writing, and bookkeeping. These are as essential for the practical life as the science of grammar. Bookkeeping should stand as one of the most important branches of education. There is not one in twenty who knows how to keep accounts correctly. Attention should also be given to reading, for this is a branch of study greatly neglected. It requires much training to be able to read properly. Through the lack of this training, one-half of the force of the other instruction will be lost. Teachers who are not competent to give instruction in this line, and to teach correct pronunciation, and where to place the emphasis, should become learners till they can read with proper emphasis, and with a full, clear, distinct tone of voice. . . .

The instructors may do a greater work than they have hitherto calculated upon. Minds are to be molded and character developed by interested experiment,


which, by the help of Christ, will prove wholly successful. Let your work be blended with prayer and faith that God will honor your efforts. In the fear of God encourage and strengthen every endeavor to develop the highest faculties, even if it is marked with great imperfection.

The minds of many youth are rich in talents which are put to no available use, because they have lacked opportunity to develop them, and teachers have not felt the necessity of calling upon God for wisdom that they may discern the possibilities and probabilities of the youth. Their physical powers have been strengthened by exercise, but the faculties of the mind lie hidden, because the discernment and God-given tact of the educator have not been exercised in bringing them into use. Aids to self-development must be given to the youth; they must be drawn out, stimulated, and encouraged, and urged to action, and this from the highest consideration only, That they may glorify God. . . .

In our college the ambition should not be so great to send forth intellectual giants, as to make a success in the holy work of educating men and women to cherish firm principles, and to live for the higher immortal life. --Ms 30, 1896, pp. 1, 3, 4, 8. ("True Aim and Purpose of Christian Colleges," Oct. 3, 1896.)

While studying authors and lesson books part of the time, students should study with the same application of the human machinery, and at the same time demonstrate the fact by using the physical organs in manual labor. Thus they answer the purpose of their Creator. They become self-made men and women.

Had teachers been learning the lessons the Lord would have them learn, there would not be a class of students whose bills must be settled by someone or else they leave the college with a heavy debt hanging over them. Educators are not


doing half their work when they know a young man to be devoting years of close application to the study of books, not seeking to earn means to pay his own way, and yet do nothing in the matter. Every case should be investigated; every youth kindly and interestedly inquired after, and his financial situation ascertained. One of the studies put before him as most valuable should be the exercise of his God-given reason in harmony with his physical powers--head, body, hands, and feet. The right use of one's self is the most valuable lesson that can be learned. We are not to do brain work and stop there, or make physical exertions and stop there; but we are to make the very best use of the various parts composing the human machinery--brain, bone, and muscle, body, head, and heart. No man is fit for the ministry who does not understand how to do this.

The study of Latin and Greek is of far less consequence to ourselves, to the world, and to God, than the thorough study and use of the whole human machinery. It is a sin to study books to the neglect of how to become familiar with the various branches of usefulness in practical life. With some, close application to books is a dissipation. The physical machinery being untaxed leads to a great amount of activity in the brain. This becomes the devil's workshop. Never can the life that is ignorant of the house we live in be an all-round life.--Letter 103, 1897, pp. 2, 3. (To E. A. Sutherland, July 23, 1897.)

There are those who are learners who are fully capable of taking some part in the work of instruction. If the teachers will employ the help thus provided, much care and labor will be spared them. There are students who can be asked to spend part of their time in teaching. Students are not to be like those represented


in the Word of God as ever learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. They are to receive to impart.

The student should not think that because he is asked to conduct a class in reading or spelling, or some other study, he is being deprived of any of the time he desires for instruction. He should not feel that he is losing time, because he is not. In imparting to others what he has received, he is preparing his mind to receive more. He may remember, as he strives to do his best, that the angels sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation, understand the situation and will lead his mind, quickening his understanding and bringing to him thoughts that shed light on the subject under consideration, making it plain and clear.

The youthful teacher who fears God will be instructed while instructing. And as thoughts of real value flash into his mind, let him offer thanksgiving to God, praising him as the One from whom all blessings flow, recognizing and acknowledging Him as the source of all true, noble thoughts. --Letter 142, 1901, pp. 4, 5, (To E. A. Sutherland, Oct. 16, 1901.)

There is much to be done. You now need to educate, educate, educate. Let no one take away your needed facilities. Have you a printing outfit? This you must have, if you do not have it; for you will want to do much of your own printing, issuing the books and other publications which you need in your work. You need the very best educator to teach typesetting and presswork to the students, giving them the education essential for this class of work.

You also need the very best and most experienced bookkeeper that you can secure. Let bookkeeping be one of the regular studies. Make it a specialty.


Voice culture should be taught in your school. Do not lightly pass over this matter, for if the expression is defective, all the knowledge that shall be obtained will be of but very little use. The cultivation of the voice is of the greatest importance, in order that grace and dignity may be brought into the impartation of truth.

By learning correctly to use the voice in speaking, many who are weak-chested may save their lives. Make the student stand erect, throwing back his shoulders. The ladies especially need to cultivate the voice.

In every reading exercise, require the students to speak the words distinctly, clearly pronouncing even the last syllable. Teach the students not to let their voice die away at the end of the sentence. Require a clear, round, full tone of voice to the very close, including the last syllable.

Many who use their vocal organs in so careless a way that they can scarcely be called vocal organs, if allowed to continue speaking defectively, will die of consumption. For want of exercise, the lungs will lose their healthful action. In the respiration there is not a full inhalation of pure, vital air to give nourishment to the lungs, consequently they become diseased.

Educate all to speak slowly. Do not allow any hurried reading or rapid delivery. Teach the students to inhale the God-given, vital air, and then in the exhalation clearly express their words. Thus the vital properties of the air are utilized.--Letter 161, 1901, pp. 2-4, (To P. T. Magan and E. A. Sutherland, Nov. 5, 1901.) Released August 29, 1962.